Whether it is Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon or the impact of black preachers, black culture is based on “cut and repetition”. Snead notes that black culture is based in the process of “cutting” or stopping, going back, and continuing with the process; the process could describe music, spoken word, or figures within black culture. Black culture is “circular” whereas European culture “accumulates” (67). Yet both are flawed, black culture is doomed to “always suffer in a society” where it is based in material progress. European culture will continue to realize its limitations because “repetition has been suppressed in favor of fulfillment” (71). Therefore in the context of race relations, having solely either will result in each struggling against each other.
Snead’s point on the shortcoming of each respective race reflects a W.E.B. Du Bois’ perspective on the need for populist movement:
“He would not AfricanizeAmerica, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world.”
It would be unsurprising if Snead did not read Du Bois. The concept of “cut” and “progression” fall in line with each. By only acknowledging the power and disempowerment of both, can a stronger shift towards a more pluralistic world is possible.
2 Replies to “The Forces We Bring-Kazon Robinson”
I really like how you give some more context to Snead’s comments, on the differences between the cultures, by using that quote from Du Bois. It gets the point across and now I am left wondering what that means for Afrofuturism. Does Afrofuturism become a mix of the African and Western cultures? Or does Afrofuturism become a purely African cultural movement that makes sure to acknowledge Western culture?
You might look especially at the ending to Snead’s piece as an example of the pluralistic possibility – ultimately, he’s calling European culture Black without that culture knowing it. And you’re right that Snead is aware of DuBois even if not referencing him here – you might look less at the overlap between their ideas than the difference, subtle but necessary to name. That is, Snead sees a blurring – would it be wrong to call it an infiltration or transfusion – between the cultures, and that’s not quite what I’d argue in the DeBois quote you’re offering us…the difference, though slight, can be productive of meaning.